1. J.R. Smith shoots the lights out
While the Suns continue rolling right along despite Shaquille O’Neal delaying his debut, the Heat wound up with one of the most versatile players in the game and they still can’t get off the schnide. Of course, Denver was partly responsible for Miami’s 23rd loss in 24 games. J.R. Smith came off the bench to drop eight treys and 28 points in the 114-113 overtime road win while Kenyon Martin poured in 24 and Marcus Camby flirted with a triple-double at 12 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks. And, as usual, Carmelo Anthony (24 pts) and Allen Iverson (16 pts) were good for their fare share as well. D-Wade finished with a game-high 29 points and 10 assists and the newest biggest loser Shawn Marion scored 23 to go with 18 boards.
2. B-B-B-B-Billups shines late
Rasheed Wallace got off to a sizzling hot start against Atlanta on Tuesday, connecting on his first six shots, including three 3-pointers, but in the end it was Chauncey Billups who saved the day. Billups scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter after shooting a miserable 0-for-8 during the first three quarter to give Detroit a 94-90 victory in Atlanta. The Hawks were led by Josh Smith’s 30 points and Al Horford’s 12 and 16 rebounds. And speaking of rebounding, Atlanta doesn’t have any time to sulk over the loss because tonight they head to Charlotte for a game against the Cats.
3. Bulls stung by Hornets
The Hornets slipped for a bit after grabbing the best record in the West, but a bout against the Bulls is sure to get anyone back on track. Chicago led by seven points at the half, but got absolutely trounced in the final 24 minutes, falling 100-86 in the Windy City. Point guard Chris Paul lit up the Bulls for 25 points and dished out 14 assists with a number of dimes going to fellow All-Star David West (27 pts). Tyson Chandler didn’t fare as well against his old club, scoring just four points, but grabbing 16 rebounds amidst a backdrop of continuous boos every time he touched the rock. Peja Stojakovic dropped 27 points of his own while Andres Nocioni was pretty much the only Chicago player to do anything productive, scoring 28 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Chris Paul @ Chicago 39 min, 25 pts (FG: 11-21, 3FG: 1-4, FT: 2-2), 4 reb, 14 ast, 2 stl
Wednesday’s Game to Watch: San Antonio (33-17) @ Cleveland (29-22)
The Spurs are about to finish up their yearly rodeo road trip by returning to the city where they most recently won the NBA championship. Neither of these teams is currently playing up to their potential, but a Finals rematch could be just what the doctor ordered. However, the Spurs will be without Tony Parker once again which could be big for Cleveland because Mr. Longoria absolutely torched the Cavs in the championship round last year, earning MVP honors. But the injury bug is biting Cleveland harder than San Antonio at the moment. The Cavs currently have five players (Daniel Gibson, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Larry Hughes, Damon Jones and Drew Gooden) guys listed as day-to-day with minor injuries.
Buzzer Beater: Normally, we’d say don’t even bother tuning into the celebrity basketball game at this weekend’s NBA All-Star weekend, but normally Alyssa Milano isn’t roaming the sideline. Here’s the rosters:
NEW ORLEANS TEAM
Ne-Yo, Zach Gilford, Taylor Hicks, Seth Gilliam, James Lafferty, Master P, Ruth Riley and AJ Calloway
Coach: Gabrielle Union
General Manager: Stephen A. Smith
Chris Tucker, Common, James Kyson Lee, Josh Peck, Terry Crews, Deion Sanders, Swin Cash and Tony Potts
Coach: Alyssa Milano
General Manager: Bill Walton (NBA Legend and ESPN Analyst)